Analysis of the beef value chain in Bangladesh: Towards a strategic action agenda for the Dhaka city corporations

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Livestock products are increasingly important in Bangladeshi diets. In developing countries including Bangladesh, the consumption of beef, mutton and chicken products grew with 5.8% per year over the last decade. In 2011 the amount of food loss and waste (FLW) for meat produced and consumed in South and Southeast Asia was estimated at 20% of the initial production. The FLW of beef in this region leads to 64,983,911 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, which makes beef one of the hotspots for GHG emissions worldwide. In order to increase the amounts of food that reaches consumers, it is relevant to study where at various links of supply chains FLW takes place. FLW studies for beef in Bangladesh are scarce. An opportunity for the beef supply chain in Bangladesh is to work towards reducing food losses at various links of the chain. Understanding the flow of food to and within the metropolitan areas and the interaction between food producers, logistics service providers, wholesalers and retailers, and the various actors is necessary to facilitate the development of a secure, sustainable and resilient food system for the megacities. This beef value chain analysis in Bangladesh is performed as a first step with the aim to develop a strategic action agenda on the beef supply chain for the four city corporations in Dhaka. The ultimate goal is to decrease food loss and waste (FLW) with 5% and increase food availability. This value chain analysis focusses on the (post-) harvest supply chain till and including retail and processing. The analysis of the beef value chain is drafted based upon data and information gathered in a literature study, workshop conducted with multiple actors in the supply chain and extensive interviews conducted with individual actors in the supply chain. The interviewees included agricultural producers, intermediaries and truck drivers in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Pabna, Sirajgonj and Faridpur districts, and wholesalers, retailers, mobile vendors, institutional users and abattoirs located in Dhaka North, Dhaka South, Narayanganj and Gazipur city corporation area. Part of the live cattle and part of the beef cannot be sold and do not go to the intended market. The losses for agricultural producers are estimated at 8% for breeding cattle, 21% of the calves and 2% of the fattening cattle. The main reasons for losses of live cattle at producer level are high mortality rates due to stillborn, weak calves, illnesses and diseases. At intermediary level the losses are estimated at 15%, and mortality of the fattening cattle happen due to diseases or illnesses, or due to injuries during transportation. Wholesalers and retailers process live cattle into beef and the actors indicated that between 60-80% of the carcass can be used for human consumption. Losses that occurred due to the slaughtering and processing activity were overall less than 5% and often occurred due to bad work accuracy of the employees or a bad quality of the meat. However, often this part of the beef can still be sold on the urban food market or to the industry, used for home consumption, or given to employees or the poor. During slaughtering the food safety is not well taken care of and current slaughtering practices raise food safety concerns, since the mainstream slaughtering is carried out without any supervision or inspection. Many actors and butchers slaughter the cattle at the road- or market side. Another part of the losses occurred due to bad storage. This was less than 5%. This lost beef went to landfill, was used for own consumption, or given to the poor or employees. Unsold beef occurring at mobile vendors or institutional users was very small, <0.5% and 0.1% respectively. Besides this beef was still consumed at home. The cause of this unsold beef included the lack of customers. Other challenges related to the post-harvest supply chain originate in the enabling environment, as it contributes to inefficiencies. Transportation faces challenges such as extortion and bribery, which hamper smooth execution of the various value adding stages. Furthermore, extension service provisioning does not reach agricultural producers well. Uncontrolled imports of cattle and beef result in periods of undersupply and oversupply. Overall Bangladesh is self-sufficient with respect to cattle production and consumption. However at the festival of Eid al-Adha half of the annual cattle slaughtering and consumption takes place, which is leading to capacity problems. Promising opportunities for optimizing the beef sector are through providing technical support on breeding, rearing, and caring for beef cattle, supporting cooperative structures to organize actors, promoting cultivation of (Napier) grass for cattle as a potential income generating activity, improving information, communication and transportation systems, and tapping in to the growing national demand for fresh and processed beef as well as the global demand for halal meat.
Original languageDutch
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Food & Biobased Research
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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NameReport / Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

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